Some More Reasons Why Firefox OS Sucks

Sad Fox is Sad

If you were looking for an upstart mobile OS to unseat Android, I can confidently say that this ain’t it.

I loaned my Firefox Flame to Howard last night, perhaps prematurely—I need to get some parting shots in before I possibly never write about Firefox OS again. It’s that bad. It’s also a shame, because Mozilla has lots of (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) “brand equity” for freedom beards like yours truly. Honestly though, after putting up with Firefox for the past ten days, I’m pretty much over it.

I’ve already written about how the Flame lacks the basic PIM features of PDA phones from seven years ago; here are some more reasons why you probably want to avoid it.

Sloooooow

Unless I’m mistaken the Flame is currently the most powerful device on the market that’s running Firefox OS. That’s not saying much, as everything about using it is slow. The touch screen isn’t great—it’s barely even good. Think about your average no-name Android tablet in the bargain bin at Tiger Direct and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what I mean. Also, since the entire OS is basically a web browser, every time you open an app you’ll feel like you’re waiting on heavy web page via a slow connection.

No Plugins?!!

Adblock? Nope.

Sad Fox is Sad

If you were looking for an upstart mobile OS to unseat Android, I can confidently say that this isn’t it.

I loaned my Firefox Flame to Howard last night, perhaps prematurely—I need to get some parting shots in before I possibly never write about Firefox OS again. It’s that bad. It’s also a shame, because Mozilla has lots of (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) “brand equity” for freedom beards like yours truly. Honestly though, after putting up with Firefox for the past ten days, I’m pretty much over it.

I’ve already written about how the Flame lacks the basic PIM features of PDA phones from seven years ago; here are some more reasons why you probably want to avoid it.

Sloooooow

Unless I’m mistaken the Flame is currently the most powerful device on the market that’s running Firefox OS. That’s not saying much, as everything about using it is slow. The touch screen isn’t great—it’s barely even good. Think about your average no-name Android tablet in the bargain bin at Tiger Direct and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what I mean. Also, since the entire OS is basically a web browser, every time you open an app you’ll feel like you’re waiting on heavy web page via a slow connection.

No Plugins?!!

Adblock? Nope.

I always assumed that you could install browser plugins on Firefox OS. Apparently not. I tried getting Adblock Plus on both the Flame and my ZTE Open. No dice.  In other words, the Firefox OS browser doesn’t have feature parity with its desktop equivalent. In fact, it doesn’t even have feature parity with its Android equivalent! Firefox on the desktop was the first browser to have plugins, right? Why on earth would they take this feature off the table for their mobile OS?

ALL CAPS FTL

Firefox OS Keypad Fail

It gets worse: the Firefox OS virtual keypad is all caps. Why? Because someone on Mozilla’s design team thought it was a good idea, that’s why. Users have attempted to right this wrong by submitting to Mozilla’s bug tracker, to no avail.

So how is a user supposed to know whether the text they’re about to enter will be in upper or lower case? Apparently the Shift key changes colour. “Breathtakingly stupid” seems like an apt description for this.

A Better Solution

I didn’t even bother doing any camera tests with the Flame; quite frankly, when the rest of the OS is this bad I don’t really see any point. I guess I should be grateful that I could at least get screen grabs out of it… All I can say about Firefox OS in its current form is good luck to them in the developing world, because there’s little reason for anyone else to use it. If you want a mobile device that respects your privacy I think your best bet is to get something with Android, root it, flash a custom ROM without the GApps and then install F-Droid. Achievement unlocked.

I always assumed that you could install browser plugins on Firefox OS. Apparently not. I tried getting Adblock Plus on both the Flame and my ZTE Open. No dice.  In other words, the Firefox OS browser doesn’t have feature parity with its desktop equivalent. In fact, it doesn’t even have feature parity with its Android equivalent! Firefox on the desktop was the first browser to have plugins, right? Why on earth would they take this feature off the table for their mobile OS?

ALL CAPS FTL

Firefox OS Keypad Fail

It gets worse: the Firefox OS virtual keypad is all caps. Why? Because someone on Mozilla’s design team thought it was a good idea, that’s why. Users have attempted to right this wrong by submitting to Mozilla’s bug tracker, to no avail.

So how is a user supposed to know whether the text they’re about to enter will be in upper or lower case? Apparently the Shift key changes colour. “Breathtakingly stupid” seems like an apt description for this.

A Better Way

I didn’t even bother doing any camera tests with the Flame; quite frankly, when the rest of the OS is this bad I don’t really see any point. I guess I should be grateful that I could at least get screen grabs out of it… All I can say about Firefox OS in its current form is good luck to them in the developing world, because there’s little reason for anyone else to use it. If you want a mobile device that respects your privacy I think your best bet is to get something with Android, root it, flash a custom ROM without the GApps and then install F-Droid. Achievement unlocked.

4 thoughts on “Some More Reasons Why Firefox OS Sucks”

  1. Do you have ROM of Android for Flame? Or there is some instruction how to build for this specific device?

      1. He was asking for “ROM of Android for Flame”, in other words he wants to flash Android OS on his Firefox Frame smartphone instead of the default FXOS. I am looking for the same too after I got thoroughly sick with the lack of progress on FXOS development, but with no success so far.
        I think it shouldn’t be much harder to port AOSP for the Flame than to any other Android device (since FXOS already uses the Android drivers), but I have no experience with ROM porting.

    1. Why can’t you simply buy an Android smartphone? Then you also have all the three function buttons instead of a crippled system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *